Incompatible Ballerina and Other Essays

Incompatible Ballerina and Other Essays

An ontological and epistemological framework and foundation for the psychological symptom 'neurosis'.


An ontological and epistemological framework and foundation for the psychological symptom 'neurosis'.


How might it be that neurosis is not strictly a psychological phenomenon but rather an ontological category? Further, how does neurosis positively generate and create as it simultaneously devours and destroys? This book attempts to convey how neuroses are involved with the creative process, how beings assimilate each other but also assimilate novelties within the creative process, and how creative processes of thought are generated if not indeed forced open by multiple horizons of being within neuroses. A book covering an astonishing range of ground, its thesis should prove interesting for those interested in contemporary metaphysical philosophy as influenced by Nietzsche, Deleuze, Schopenhauer, Freud, Hegel, Schelling, or Heidegger. One must read this book for her or himself if only to grasp the astonishing breadth of concepts and ideas that an ontological reading of neurosis might take. This is a book that certainly breaks new ground for all of literature, psychology and psychoanalysis, and philosophy. Its thesis about neuroses is both novel and interesting. ~ Leon Niemoczynski, Author of the renowned blog After Nature and Author/Professor

'This is a compelling entry into the field of philosophical literature that marks out Charles Johns as an exciting, innovative and perspicacious thinker. Part novel, part essay and part treatise, this work is replete with fecund analysis and aporetic insight that moves smoothly and eruditely through the landmarks of post-Enlightenment European philosophy. Comprised of four essays, the book ruminates on the plight of the self in the contemporary age and its ‘neurotic impulse’ to philosophise and to make explicit its vertiginous relation to itself, other people and the material world. Informed by a literary Nietzschean perspective, Johns grounds the self in its very groundlessness, that is, its solemn foundation in nothingness and nihilation. Drawing upon a wealth of thinkers such as Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Bataille and Derrida, this book plots a via regia through some of the perennial antinomies (mind / body, reason / emotion, form /substance) that beset the modern philosopher. The book is written in a fluid prose that intertwines philosophical, autobiographical and literary voices in an overarching narrative that spans the fields of philosophy, psychoanalysis and art theory. ' ~ Nik Farrell Fox, Author of 'The New Sartre', 2

Charlie Johns's four essays is an interesting book. In fact, as Johns says, it is a book of “fireworks.” Throughout these essays, we learn what Johns is opposed to; the first explosion against the madness of contemporary life. Then – second explosion -- we learn the diagnosis of this madness that he calls “vertigo”. Then finally, the whole book is an explosion of thinking.” Indeed, Johns's debut book is not only is an intensification of thinking ~ Professor Leonard Lawlor, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University, 3

I find the ambition and the hunger of the project impressive, irrespective of the claim to the neurotic (what possible use does a catch-phrase have for now?). There is a deep dissatisfaction that seems to animate the project and that chimes very closely with the somewhat heroic attempt to coalesce absolutely everything. The pathos of the delivery has most certainly more to do with Bataille than with Kafka by a long way, although the text(s) seem to suggest a legacy coming out of both. ~ Edgar Schmitz, Artist and Senior Lecturer in Fine Art Practice (Critical Studies) at Goldsmiths University, London, Lecturer at Goldsmiths College

"Very interesting and well-written" ~ Hedi El Kholti, Semiotexte Magazine

"Bewildering, provocative, insightful and in places brilliant, Johns’ relentless writing style leaves the reader gasping for air, yet carried along seamlessly into chaos. The term chaos though, is hardly pejorative and possibly undeserving of the clearly high level of erudition that underpins the work. Reminiscent of Deleuze yet peculiarly its own thing, this book is a worthy addition to the ongoing discussions of Desire, the non-human, and the meaning of thinking". ~ Graham Freestone, Lincoln Philosophy Forum Founder

"This is what Charlie’s book is helping us with. We may start to see the beauty of our own momentum, wherever we are. He explores as a philosopher: to show the dark edges to the light and the light edges to the dark – and how these become part of his personal neurosis…We should reclaim it as researchers, as philosophers, as people; we should note our values, we should experience their absence and we should intensify our thinking" ~ Gerard de Zeeuw , Emeritus Professor of Mathematical Modelling in the social sciences, University of Amsterdam Emeritus Professor of Social Work and Adult Education

"A compelling read!" ~ Kirsten Wilkinson, Executive Director, Dance Legacies Worldwide

'When William Cullen, professor of medicine in Edinburgh and a celebrated philosopher in his own right (he founded the Royal Charter for the Philosophical Society, the predecessor of the Royal Society, and was the personal physician of David Hume) coined the term ‘neurosis’ and defined it as ‘a disorder of sense and motion caused by general affection’ in the eighteenth century., he could not have foreseen that at the start of the twenty-first century a young philosopher would take this concept as the basis of his reflections. But this is exactly what Charlie Johns has done. Feeling that his thoughts are determined by fundamental neurosis, he manages to reflect on a variety of themes with great insight. The reader of these four essays will find philosophical explorations of most important human themes such as desire (which he considers – as Freud does – to be the main constituting factor of man), power, language, values, morality, and finally death (the clearest opposition of desire). At the same time the constant theme of freedom comes up and the question is raised to what extent we are enslaved in a capitalist system that inhibits ‘the Real Self’’ (in a Winnicottian sense) – man then becomes a ‘body without organs’, acting as a ‘desiring machine’, as Gilles Deleuze would call it. Throughout this book, the writer quotes or refers to the great thinkers of Western Philosophy, which is enriching in itself. As one, privileged enough to be the author’s fellow-participant in the discussions of the Philosophy Forum at the University of Lincoln, I am pleased that Charlie has been able to activate his neurosis, and have us share his personal as well as academic thoughts. From time to time readers may feel challenged in their beliefs, but it was likewise Socrates, under the name of philosophy, who challenged engrained opinions, provoking genuine and authentic thinking? ' ~ Dr Frans Lohman, Clinical Psychologist/Psychotherapist and visiting senior fellow at University of Lincoln. Latest article: Lohman, F. (2014) Hubris in Greek Philosophy, in 1914 and 2014.

"Philosophically astute, rigorous and creative writing". ~ Professor Simon O Sullivan, Author of Art Encounters Deleuze and Guattari:Thought Beyond Representation and On the Production of Subjectivity:Five Diagrams of the Finite-Infinite Relation (Palgrave Macmillan)

‘Charlie seeks to capture something which ultimately cannot be captured but the process is informed with rare philosophical intelligence and insight'. ~ Prof Mike Gothorp , Head of Philosophy Lincoln College U.K

Charlie Johns
Charlie Johns Charles William Johns is a philosopher and fiction writer. He is responsible for the 'neurotic turn' which has been instantiated in recent y...
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